ADB President Calls for More Regional Infrastructure and Less Trade Barriers

KYOTO, JAPAN - Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda today said the key challenge for emerging East Asia to sustain growth is to expand domestic and regional demand by improving Asia’s regional infrastructure networks and removing barriers to intra-regional trade.

"It is particularly critical for moving beyond the recent global crisis toward sustainable and balanced economic growth and rapid poverty reduction," said Mr. Kuroda in his remarks at the APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting in Kyoto.

Mr. Kuroda cited ADB’s forecasts that projected emerging East Asia's gross domestic product to expand 8.4% in 2010, well above the 5.2% rate last year. Growth is seen cooling somewhat in 2011, but it should remain robust at 7.3%.

"The key challenge is to transition back to sustained and more inclusive growth," said Mr. Kuroda. "In doing so, they must ensure private demand can fill in for withdrawn stimulus and remain watchful of the possibility of volatile capital flows."

The ADB President warned that capital flows in and out of developing Asia could become destabilizing, complicating macroeconomic management. Several economies have already raised policy rates, and are watching asset prices carefully, while using well-targeted capital controls to limit speculation.

Mr. Kuroda stressed the importance of regional infrastructural development and transport, and trade facilitation across Asia and the Pacific in order to achieve a stronger, more balanced, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the region.

"While physical connectivity is improving, many companies in Asia face difficulty in conducting cross-border trade mainly because of inefficient customs practices, which keep the costs of doing business high," said Mr. Kuroda.